19 years ago I imagined how amazing it would be to watch my daughter grow. I looked forward to having a little girl and dressing her up in fancy dresses and putting curls in her hair. I had no idea that this tiny baby was going to change my life in ways I never imagined. That tiny baby began to crawl and walk. She went off to school and learned to drive. This year she went off to college. She has been a blessing in so many ways. She has taught me to be myself without apology and to own every single part of myself. She has taught me never to hide in a corner or allow anyone to make me fell shame because of a mistake I made. She made me learn to continue to love and respect a person whose ideas do not match up with my own. She has taught me that my actions have consequences and if I want people to respect me then I too have to treat them with respect regardless of how frustrated or angry I may feel. She taught me to be silly and to appreciate someone who can break through the serious to make others laugh. She taught me that while I watched her grow, I too would grow right along with her. She is my heart and soul. She is my inspiration on the darkest days and a smile on my face that shines through the darkest pain. This little girl was chosen just for me, to change me in the most significant ways so I could be this person I am today. Happy birthday to my silly little Kayleigh who no matter how old she becomes, will always be my little girl. Happy birthday to my little groundhog who always rushes into everyday full speed ahead, excited about the future and never looking back to catch a glimpse of the shadow of who she used to be. You are beautifully you, truly unique in the most amazing ways. May this year be your best year yet. I love you more than you will ever know.
The way I see it, we have a choice. We make the decision to look for the good in someone or we examine someone with a microscope to broadcast the bad.
I wrote a post a few weeks ago about a conversation I had with my son. I was frustrated with him and I spent the whole ride home from school telling him all the ways he disappoints me. I was stopped mid-sentence when he interjected and said words that really made me think. “Do I do anything right mom?” My heart sank and I allowed myself to feel the very pain I was choosing to inflict on him. Who did I think I was that day? How would I feel if everyone wanted to have a conversation about everything I did that was disappointing. Didn’t I already know my flaws and feel bad enough without someone else pointing them out?
The lesson is simple. Just turn on the news and watch this sad process in action. Basically, we get what we look for. We can look for and report the bad, the negative, the doom and gloom or we can seek out and celebrate the good. The problem isn’t always the person or the situation we are pointing our eager finger at. Often times, it is our own perception that is the biggest problem at all. Time to get real. We can’t heal what we won’t acknowledge.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the one thing that truly changed my life forever. There comes a point in time when you are completely transformed and there is no chance in you know what that you can ever go back to being the same as you were before. That day happened for me the moment I became completely responsible for someone else. The day I became a mom was amazing but I had no idea the significance of how my heart and mind would change. It would never completely belong to me anymore. How could it right? My children are an extension of me who bring connection and distraction too durable to ever break. I am haunted by my responsibility and elated at the same time. There is no feeling quite like it and no way to explain to someone who doesn’t understand. Responsibility changes you forever as does your never-ending love and concern for another human being maybe ever greater if not equal to the love you have for yourself. It’s a tough job but I wouldn’t trade it for a single thing in this amazing world. What do you think? How has being responsible for something or someone changed you?
Tomorrow is the day I leave my heart four hours away. Only I could understand the emptiness that closet must have felt as we loaded her clothes into the car. My whole world packed into two trunks ready to drive her off to start a new life someplace else. It’s bitter sweet I guess. There is a part of me excited for the change about to come into her life but the mom in me, the part that kept her safe and protected for 18 years is breaking apart at the seams. My life as I have known it is disappearing in front of my eyes and I can almost hear my heart tearing apart.
Love them and let them go.
It sounds easy in theory but when you watch a room that was so full of her empty out, your heart can’t help but feel that emptiness too. Tomorrow I will leave her behind. Tomorrow I quietly wink at God and remind him she is in His hands now. I will pray that I did enough and loved her enough and that she is ready to step behind the wheel. Her life is her own now. Will she make the right choices? Will she be kind and compassionate? Will she be happy? Grateful? I can only hope when I feel sad that I will remember her like I see her today…excited, full of life, her face sprouting a gigantic smile as she holds her new Bluetooth water bottle in her hand and dances around. She is my baby going off to college, that same little girl with light and adventure bursting from her eyes, ready to explore the next thing in her path. This time though I have to have the strength and courage to let her do it alone. She will always know where to find me and I will sit quietly waiting for her to return.
It’s very hot here today. Earlier I found myself floating in the pool thinking there was nowhere else I would rather be. It’s taken me several years but slowly and surely I have learned to relax. In this fast paced, busy world so many of us struggle to find a way to relax. Feeling calm and allowing ourselves to rest have become a thing of the past. I read Facebook posts about friends spending the entire weekend running from one sporting event to another and I cringe at the thought. Some have every week of the summer planned out but for me and my family, summer is a time to recover and rest. The day doesn’t have to be jammed with activities for life to be meaningful. All these activities and ridiculous things we tell ourselves we have to do are just things. Peace of mind and a moment to just breathe will be much more beneficial than a schedule that leaves us feeling drained and exhausted. It’s almost as if the notion of balance has been lost. I’ve been chasing it my entire life and I’ve worked hard to find out what that means for me. So today, find the balance you need. Learn to say no to the things that don’t really matter and yes to the things that do. You may think those decisions are impossible to make but you have way more control than you think.
Some days all I can do is wonder to myself, why? So many questions without answers, so many problems I can’t seem to find solutions to. Some days I just can’t. No matter what I do, I just can’t. Do you have those kinds of days too? How do you get through them?
Sadly, I am learning the result of accommodating everyone in my life. I have spent so many years trying to keep the peace and make everyone else happy that finally I have lost my own voice. I cannot even hear it anymore and I can’t help but wonder if it even tries to speak. Everything has become a negotiation. Just this morning I wanted the family to go for breakfast and everyone had an attitude or conditions. Being a mom is not always easy and often times it is downright hurtful. I wait all week for a tiny slice of time for us to be together but someone always throws a stick in the spoke until the bike has a tragic accident. It’s broken and today I feel sad and broken but instead of sitting around feeling sorry for myself, I will go out and do something that makes me feel good. The others can stay home and be in good company with their cell phones, computers, attitudes and conditions and I will simply carry on. No sense throwing myself in the middle and crying victim. I am in charge of my own destiny and sometimes it is necessary to leave everyone behind and follow on my own path. As for being a woman, I have to stop using that as an excuse. I swear it is almost innate to make everyone feel important and included but you know what I’ve realized? It’s necessary to include myself in that behavior as well. Time to find my voice and make it strong again. Time for some conditions of my own. Time to make some changes starting right now. Wish me luck.